Are you graduating this semester? If you are an international student graduating in April 2011, OIS wants to remind you of your options for maintaining legal status after completion of your degree.

  • Students in F1 and J1 status are, in most cases, eligible to apply for employment authorization to be used after graduation. Please review the information on our web site about optional practical training (F1 students) or academic training (J1 students) and then sign up for an OPT session (F1 students only) or make an appointment with your immigration specialist. F1 students may legally apply for OPT as late as 60 days after degree completion. However, applications must be processed by US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which can take up to 90 days. OIS recommends attending an OPT information session early in your final semester to allow plenty of time for the process.
  • Obtain a new Form I-20 or DS-2019 for a new program of study at Pitt or another US school. F1 students must receive their new form before the end of their grace period – 60 days after program completion. J1 students must receive an updated form before their current DS-2019 expires. If you will begin a new program of study at Pitt, you must obtain an updated form, even if the dates on your current one will still be valid.
  • Depart the US before the end of your grace period – 60 days after program completion for F1 students and 30 days after program completion for J1 students.
  • Apply to USCIS for a change of status, if eligible. The application must be received by USCIS before the end of your grace period.

If you have questions about these or other issues not covered by our web site or handouts, please make an appointment with your immigration specialist.

Congratulations and best wishes!